Former UC Basketball Great Phil Wheeler Passes Away

May 16, 2012

Wheeler Obituary

Cincinnati Enquirer story

CINCINNATI - Former University of Cincinnati men's basketball great Phil Wheeler passed away at the age of 78 on Saturday, May 12.

A forward on the Bearcats' basketball teams from 1954-56 under head coach George Smith, Wheeler was a member of the 1,000-point club (1,055) and teamed with Bill Lammert and Jack Twyman to lead UC to a third-place finish at the Postseason NIT in 1955. Wheeler averaged a double-double in points and rebounds during his junior and senior seasons, leading the Bearcats in scoring (21.5 points per game) and field goal shooting (46.2 percent) as team captain in 1956. For his career, Wheeler averaged 14.7 points and 10.5 rebounds while leading the Bearcats to a 49-25 record.

Wheeler was the 18th player selected in the 1956 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia Warriors but decided to continue his education. He later earned selection to both the Greater Cincinnati Hall of Fame and the University of Cincinnati Athletic Hall of Fame.

Wheeler was born in Benton Harbor, Mich., but lived most of his life in Cincinnati. After attending UC, Wheeler later founded the Phil Wheeler Insurance Agency which became his life's work. He also served two terms as president at Kenwood Country Club where he was a long-time member.

"I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Wheeler at Kenwood Country Club," UC head coach Mick Cronin said. "He was a great ambassador for the University of Cincinnati throughout his life. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time."